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Question
Posted by: JJ | 2005/01/07

Consumed with Fear

Hi Doc,

I find I have an irrational fear of the HIV virus. I have had this problem for about 2 years now, and find it consumes my daily thinking completely. I do not put myself at risk, yet find myself constantly worrying about very low risk situations and thinking about all the what ifs. I constantly go for HIV tests and despite negative results am never satisfied.I do realise i need to take a stand and get some help. Please could you recommend a good course of action and who I might talk to.

thanks

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Our expert says:
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OK, JJ< so we're talking about what you agree is an irrational fear, over and above any rational and reasonable fear we might have. As you recognize, if it dominates your daily thinking, that's excessive, and it is interfering with your work and enjoyment of life. See a good local psychiatrist or clinical psychologist ( especially if you can find one practising CBT, Cognitive-behaviour Therapy, which is dandy for irrational thought wrestling !) As Ice says, this is related to phobias ( excessive fears) and maybe also to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and both respond well to medicinal and psychological treatment. Then you can go back to being nornmally and wisely cautious, but not consumed by excessive fears.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Ice | 2005/01/07

If this fear is as you say consuming you, then you definitely should see a good psychologist.
like with any phobia that starts to rule one's life, you need help getting into the cause of it, and dealing with the root of the problem, a professional will be able to help you with this.
in the meantime we send lots of strength and love your way, don't let this fear get the better of you.
come back anytime to give some feedback.

Reply to Ice
Posted by: Liza | 2005/01/07

You're not perhaps a member of Discovery Vitality are you? Get 5000 points for a voluntary HIV test. Yippee. Thought it was valid last year already but alas, bruise on my arm was for nothing.

On a serious note however - What kind of low risk situations are we talking about here? Personally I think that everyone should be worried - especially in certain situations. I still use my towel in the gym steam-room (triple layered). Plus I hate to use public toilets - got a little plastic cover in my handbag for just such situations. Go have a chat with a psychologist. I'm sure he/she will be able to help.

Reply to Liza

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